Now this must be all extravagance and ostentatious parade, unless there be something peculiarly glorious and endearing in the gospel. It must ceriainly give the most illustrious display of the divine perfections ; it must be the most grand contrivance of infinite wisdom : the most rich and ainazing exertion of unbounded goodness : and particularly, it must bear the most favourable aspect upon the guilty sons of men, and be the best, Day, the only scheme for their salvation. And what are the glorious peculiarities, what are the endearing recommendations of this gospel ? One of them, in which we are nearly interested, strikes our eyes in my text, For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. . Here let us inquire into the meaning of the expressions, and point out the connection.

The righteousness of God has generally one uniform signifi. eation in the writings of St. Paul; and by it he means that rightcousness, upon the account of which a sinner is justified : that righteousness, for the sake of which his sins are forgiven, and he is restored to the divine favour : In short, it is our only justifying righteousness. It may be called the righteousness of God, to distinguish it from our own personal righteousness : it is the righteousness of God, a complete, perfect, divine, and Godlike righteousness, and not the mean, imperfect, scanty righteousness of sinful, guilty men. So it seems to be taken, Rom. x. 3. Being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God; where the righteousness of God is directly opposed to, and distinguished from, their own righteousness. :

The various descriptions of this righteousness, and of justifioation by it, which we find in the apostolic writings, may assist - us to understand the nature of it ; and therefore it may be proper for me to lay them before you in one view. It is frequently called the righteousness of Christ ; and it is said to consist in his obedience : by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous ; Rom. v. 19. . Now obedience consists in the strict observance of a law; and consequently the obedience of Christ, which is our justifying righteousness, consists in his obedience to the law of God. Hence he is said to be the end of the law for righteousness 19 every one that believeth. Rom. x. 4, 5, To be justified by his righteousness, is the same thing as to be justified by his blood, Rom. v. 9. to be reconciled to God by his death, &c. verse 10. From whence we may learn, that the sufferings of Christ are a principal part of this righteousness ; or, that he not only obeyed the precept, but also endured the penalty of the divine law in our stead ; and that it is only on this account we can be justified.

This righteousness is called the righteousness of God without the law, Rom. iii. 21. an imputed righteousness without works, Rom. iv. 6. And it is plain, from the whole tenor of this epistle, and that to the Galatians, that the righteousness by which we are justified, is entirely different from our own obedience to the law :' and hence we may learn, that our own merit or good works do not in whole or in part constitute our justifying righteousness; but that it is wholly, entirely and exclusively, the merit of Christ's obedience and sufferings.

This righteousness is often called the righteousness of faith. Thus, according to some, it is denominated in my text, which may be thus rendered, For in it the righteousness of God by faith is revealed to faith : and this is most agreeable to the phraseology of this epistle. Others, following our translation or the apparent order of the original, understand it in another sense ; yet still so as to assign faith a peculiar concern in the affair. The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; that is, according to some, it is entirely and all through by faith ;* or, from one degree of faith to another ; or from faith to faith, from believer to believer, all the world over, among the Jews and Gentiles; or from the faithfulness of God in the word, to the grace of faith in the heart. You see that whatever sense you put upon this difficult phrase, it still coincides with 'or countenances the translation, which I would rather choose, The righteousness of faith is revealed to faith. So it is expressly called in Romans, iii. 22. the righteousness of God, which is by the faith of Christ. See chap. iv. 11. 13. X. vi. Phil. iii. 9. Not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is by the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. From whence we may infer, that faith bas a peculiar concurrence of instrumentality in our justification by the righteousness of Christ. I need not enlarge on this particular ; for to be justified by faith in Christ, in his blood, by believing in Christ, and the like, are such frequent scripture-expressions, as put the matter out of all doubt.

My text farther observes that in the gospel this justifying rightcousness is revealed to faith ; that is, in the gospel it is clearly discovered, proposed and offered as an object of faith. The light

See Mr. Locke.

of nature is all darkness and uncertainty on this important point'; it can only offer obscure and mistaken conjectures concerning the method of pardon and acceptance for a guilty sinner; it leaves the anxious conscience still unsatisfied, and perplexed with the grand inquiry, “ Wherewith shall I come before the Lord ? How shall such a guilty creature'as I re-obtain the favour of my provoked sovereign ?" It may suggest some plausible things in favour of repentance, as the only method of pardon; it may flatter the sinner, that a God of infinite goodness will not rigorously execute his law; and it may draw a veil over the artribuite of his justice ; and thus it may build the hopes of the simer' upon the ruin of the divine government, and the dishonour of the divine perfections. But a method of justification by the righteousness of another, by the obedience and death of an incarnate God; by his perfect obedience to the law, and complete satisfaction to jusrice, instead of the sinner; a method in which sin may be pardoned, and in the mean time, the honours of the divine government advanced, and the divine perfections gloriously illustrated ; this is a mystery, which was hid from ages and generations ; this was a grand secret, which all the sages and philosophers, and all the sons of men, who had nothing but the light of nature for their guide, could not discover, nor indeed so much as guess at This scheme was as far above their thoughts as the heavens are above the earth. Nothing but infinite wisdom could contrive it : nothing but omniscience could reveal it. In the writings of Moses and the prophets, indeed, we meet with some glimmerings of it'; some few rays of gospel-light were reflected back from the Sun of Righteousness, through the dark medium of 3 or 4000 years, and shone upon the minds of the Jews, in the sacrifices, and other significant types of the law, and in the prophecies of the Old Testament writers; and hence the apostle says, that the rightcousness of God is witnessed by the law and the firophets, Rom. iii. 21; but it is in the gospel alone that it is explicitly and fully revealed : in the gospel alone it is proposed in full glory, as a proper object for a distinct, particular and explicit faith.

And hence you may easily see the strong and striking connec tion of the text. You may connect this sentence, Por therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, with the first part of a foregoing text, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Chris; and then the sense will be, “ No wonder I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ among Jews or Gentiles, and even in Rome

itself ; for it makes a most glorious and important discovery, in which they are all concerned ; a discovery which the Jews, with all the advantages of the law and the prophets, could not clearly make : a discovery which the Greeks, with all their learning and pbilosophy, and the Romans with all their power and im. provements, could not so much as guess at ; and that is the discovery of a complete God-like righteousness, by which the guilty sons of men of every nation under heaven, may obtain justification from all their sins ; a righteousness which is a sufficient foundation for the hopes of sinners, and gives the most majestic and amiable view of the great Gods: a righteousness, without which Jews and Gentiles, and even the Romans in the height of empire, must unavoidably, irreparably, universally, and eternally perish, in promiscuous ruin.” Such a glorious and divine righteousness does the neglected and despised gospel reveal ; such a benevolent, gracious, and reviving discovery does it make ; and who would be ashamed of such a gospel ! “ For my part," says St. Paul, “ I ain not ashamed of it, but would boldly publish it unto kings and emperors, to sages and philosophers; and whatever sufferings I endure for its sake, still I glory in so good a cause, and would spend and be spent in its service."

Or we may join this clause, For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, with the last part of the preceding verse, For it is the power of God unto salvation, &c. and then the connection will run thus : “The gospel of Christ, so destitute of all carnal and secular recommendations, is sufficiently recommended to universal acceptance by this, that it is the only powerful and efficacious expedient for the salvation of all such as believe it, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. And no wonder it is attended with this divine power and efficacy, for in it, and in it only, the righteousness of God by faith is revealed to the faith and acceptance of a guilty world. No religion but that of a Mediator, can provide or propose such a righteousness ; and yet, without such a righteousness, no sinner, whether Jew or Gentile, can be saved : and, on the other hand, the revelation of such a righteousness directly tends to promote the important work of salvation, as it encourages the despairing sinner, and inspires him with vigour : and as it lays a foundation for the honourable communication of the influences of the Holy Spirit, without which this work can never be effected." VOL. II.


I hope these things are sufficient to give you á view of the sense and connection of the text. And there is only one thing 1 would repeat and illustrate before I proceed to a methodical prosecution of my subject ; and that is, that the righteousness of God, or the righteousness of Christ, on account of which we are justified, signifies the obedience and sufferings of Jesus Christ, to answer the demands of the law, which we had broken ; or, as it is usually expressed, “ his active and passive obedience " He obeyed the law, and endured its penalty, as the surety or substitute of sinners : that is, he did all this, not for himself, but for them, or in their stead. This is a matter of so 'much impor. tance, that you should by all means rightly understand it; and I hope it is now sufficiently plain without enlarging upon it, though I thought it necessary to repeat it.

My thoughts on this interesting subject I intend to dispose in the following order :

I. I shall briefly explain to you the tatute of justifying faith, and shew you the place it has in our justification.

II. I shall shew, that no righteousness but that which the gospel reveals is sufficient for the justification of a sinner: And,

III. I shall evince that it is the gospel only which reveals such a righteousness.

1. I am to explain to you the nature of justifying faith, and shew you the place it has in our justification.

You see I do not propose to explain the general nature of faith, as it has for its object the word of God in general ; but only un. der that formal notion, as it has a peculiar instrumentality in our justification. When I mentioned the term justification, it'occurs to my mind that some of you may not understand it; and for the sake of such, I would explain it. You cannot but know what it is to be pardoned, or forgiven, after you have offended : and it must be equally plain to you what it is to be Yoved, and received into favour, by a person whom you have offended ; and these two things are meant by justification : when you are justified, God pardons or forgives you all your sins ; and he receives you again into his love and favour, and gives you a title to everlasting happiness. I hope this important point is now sufficiently plain to you all; and I return to observe, that I intend to consider faith åt present, only under that formal notion, as we are justified by it'; and in that view it is evident that the Lord Jesus, as a Saviour who died for sinners, is its peculiar object. Hence a justifying faith

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